December 2014

Ten Competition Happenings for 2014

This is the week for lists, so here’s one for competition watchers looking for something to read in between watching football games and reading other lists.  In addition to the many speeches by the Chairwoman and Commissioners on a wide variety of topics, here are some key FTC competition documents worth a second look from the year that was:

PNO closed on December 26

Per an executive order by President Obama, executive branch non-Postal Service employees are excused from duty on Friday, Dec. 26, 2014. The Premerger Notification Office will not be open to accept HSR filings on that date. Please note that this will not change HSR waiting periods. If you have a filing with a waiting period scheduled to end on Dec. 26, 2014, that waiting period will not be affected.

Information exchange: be reasonable

Each day companies seek out market information to gain insights on how to compete more effectively.  When companies compete more effectively, that can be good for consumers, making more and better goods and services available to them at lower prices. But when competing companies seek market intelligence by exchanging price or other commercially sensitive information, that may facilitate collusion or otherwise harm competition and consumers in violation of the antitrust laws.

Turning a page at the PNO

Every day, the Premerger Notification Office processes premerger notification filings for transactions reportable under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act. The numbers are daunting: over 1,400 transactions requiring more than 2,800 filings in an average year. Not only does the PNO keep up with this volume, its staff of HSR specialists screens each filing for HSR compliance and identifies which transactions require further review.

FTC Milestones: Weighing in on weight loss cases

“No need to be fat. No need to diet or go through unpleasant exercise.”
“Your thin friends can tell you the right way to fight fat.”

“Men avoided me. I was too fat.”

Sounds like a lot of the bogus diet promotions the FTC has gone to court to shut down. But there are two things different about this false advertising case.

First, it went to the Supreme Court. And second, the year was 1931.

December tidings

I am pleased to announce the addition of two highly experienced antitrust litigators to the Bureau of Competition.  In a happy coincidence of timing, David Laing and Tara Reinhart will both be joining the Bureau from private practice on December 15. They will report directly to Deputy Director Steve Weissman and to me. Tara and David will handle both federal court and administrative litigation. They will often be involved in cases early on—before we’ve reached a decision on our recommendation to the Commission—to help determine whether litigation is appropriate.

Living in the moment

As the FTC celebrates its Centennial, we are thankful for all of the very talented folks who chose to spend part or all of their career with us protecting consumers and promoting competition. You can visit FTC Moments to read, hear, or watch as present and former FTC’ers share special moments from their time with the agency. And if you only have a moment, here are our highlights. If you are an FTC alum, we’d love to have your moment added to the collection!